Tag Archives: Billy Graham

Sunday Sermon: In the end, we all become one with God

Today marks the final Sunday in the liturgical year of the Catholic Church.

Next Sunday begins the season of Advent, the four-week period leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ.
As Advent begins, the readings at Mass will begin to lead us towards that most important and holy moment in the history of humanity.

Today, however, we peer into the future, to the end of time itself.

The second reading today was from the first letter, sometimes called an epistle, written by Saint Paul to the Church at Corinth.

The Yale Divinity School calls this first letter from Paul to the Corinthians “a masterpiece of pastoral theology.” Of this important and lengthy 16-chapter work, Yale further states:

“It challenges us to think about how we relate to the wider world that we fully engage even if it does not always share our values, provoking us to imitate Paul’s pastoral logic, which probes fundamental convictions to see how they apply in difficult situations.”

Corinth today lies in south-central Greece, approximately 48 miles west of Athens. But the Corinth of Paul’s time could be located about two miles southwest of today’s city.

Paul himself founded the original church in Corinth around 50 A.D., less than two decades after Christ’s death. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was written during one of his stays at Ephesus. It includes a number of important teachings, and contains a handful of famous sayings that have survived through today.

The focus of my piece today comes from near the end of Paul’s letter, and relates to the end of time. Here, Paul talks of Christ’s return at the second coming, stating that he will destroy “every sovereignty and every authority and power” before finally destroying the “last enemy”, death itself.

Paul then finishes by stating that once everything has been subjected to Jesus Christ, then Christ himself will be subjected to God. This is, as Paul puts it, “that God may be all in all.” In the end, we will all become one with God, through Christ.

You can choose to interpret the exact physical and meta-physical mechanics of that merger with our Creator in a number of ways. However you choose to do so, the fact is that we don’t know when these events will take place. Will they even take place in our lifetimes?

The more important point is that, no matter when the end times come, there is something that we can all and should all be doing right now. We should all be preparing now by subjecting ourselves to Christ.

Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Clearly the most important thing that we can do right now is ensure that we are believers. That we recognize that Christ gave up his life so that we could be freed from sin.

This acceptance, this subjecting of ourselves to Christ in accepting and celebrating his role in our lives, gives us a chance to join God as one of those “all in all” at the end.

A joyous season is about to begin. The birth of your Savior is not far off. As this holy time of year approaches, remember exactly whose birth it is that we will be celebrating.

In the end, we all become one with God. That is only made possible by the one who is about to be born.

2013 American of the Year: Ted Cruz

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The junior U.S. Senator from the great state of Texas, Ted Cruz, has been selected as this website’s 10th annual American of the Year, marking the first time that someone born outside of the country has been so honored.

Cruz was born in Canada, in the city of Calgary and province of Alberta in December of 1970 to a Cuban father and American mother from Delaware who were there to work the oil business.

Cruz’ parents moved to Houston, Texas in 1974, and he went to a Baptist high school, becoming Valedictorian of his 1988 graduating class. He then went to Princeton University, where he became a debate champion and noted speaker, graduating in 1992. He then attended Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude, while also dealing with his parents divorce during this time.

In 1995, Cruz served in Virginia as law clerk to a true, great conservative jurist, J. Michael Luttig of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and in 1996 became the first Hispanic to clerk for the Chief Justice of the US when he worked for William Rehnquist.

After working a few years in private practice, Cruz joined the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in 1999 as a domestic policy advisor, and was influential in the court process during the contested Florida election results battle at both the state and Supreme Court levels. This led to a role in the victorious Bush administration for a few years before a return to Texas.

During the Bush campaign, Cruz met his wife, Heidi Nelson, a New York investment banker who would go on to work for Condoleezza Rice at the White House and who now works for Goldman Sachs. They now have two daughters together.

From 2003 to 2008, Cruz served as Solicitor General of Texas, arguing numerous cases before the US Supreme Court including landmark victories in which he stood up for 2nd Amendment rights, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, and on behalf of a Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol.

Cruz returned to private practice from 2008 until his surprising Senatorial election battle of 2011. In what was described as a stunning grass-roots victory for fiscal conservatism, he defeated the sitting Lieutenant Governor and heir apparent. He then trounced his Democratic opponent in the November general election.

In the last few months, a poll by the respected Rasmussen organization found that Ted Cruz was the 3rd most influential world leader, following behind only President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. That position comes squarely from his emerging leadership as the most forceful, outspoken critic of what are proving to be disastrous liberal political programs, policies and ideas.

Particularly in 2013, Cruz emerged as a vocal opponent of Obamcare, the President’s attempt to socialize the American healthcare system. Cruz publicly and aggressively attacked the program at a time when many even within his own Republican Party were treading lightly.

What Ted Cruz has done is stand up and give voice to the massive base of the Republican Party that has felt left behind by the Party’s political leaders in recent years. As spending has exploded, war droned on, and deals been cut with Democrats that have allowed disastrous socialist programs to continue, that base has grown from restless to revolutionary.

While that Republican Party leadership cut those deals and smiled for the cameras, talking words like “compromise” and “collaboration”, the old “reaching across the aisle” stuff, Cruz not only recognized these continuing methods as disastrous for the Party politically, but for the nation intrinsically.

In 2013, Senator Cruz has invigorated the Republican Party base, which the Party will need if it is to have any chance at taking control of the full Senate in 2014 and then winning back the White House in 2016. Properly motivated, that base has the ability to make just those very things happen.

Republican control of both Houses of Congress, combined with control of the White House, in the next few years gives us the best, perhaps the only chance to reverse the disastrous liberal socialist spending programs instituted under Obama. That can only happen if more politicians become as publicly aggressive and fearless as Cruz was this year. Reaction to his style makes that possible now.

For his aggressive, principled, public stands on behalf of truly Conservative political values during a period when far too many Party leaders have been cow-towed into political cowardice, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is selected as the American of the Year.

NOTE:

In an original version of this article, I posited that Cruz was not eligible to become the President of the United States himself. This was based on an improper reading of materials which I believed stated that, with his having clearly been born outside of the U.S., both his parents needed to be U.S. citizens in order for him to be eligible for POTUS.

This is not so. On further research, the key information relating to Cruz comes from the ‘Citizenship Clause’ of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as from the Nationality Act of 1940. Ted Cruz, with his mother clearly a U.S. citizen for more than 10 years, was considered a U.S. citizen himself at birth.

Basically, Cruz enjoyed ‘dual citizenship’ from the U.S and Canada. He has chosen to retain counsel in order to prepare the paperwork necessary in order to renounce his Canadian citizenship. This is clearly a precurssor to a projected run for the US Presidency in 2016 or sometime in the future. He does indeed enjoy such eligibility. My earlier comments were in error, and are well corrected here.


AMERICANS OF THE YEAR:
2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Rev. Billy Graham
2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy (for the American police officer)
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps

TO VIEW all articles relating to the previous ‘American of the Year‘ award honorees, simply click on that below ‘Tag’

Predictions for 2010

I don’t own a crystal ball, nor do I have any special psychic powers or connections to the Almighty that would grant me privileged insight.

But I do understand a little bit about what is going on in the world, and it’s a challenge to look ahead and try to figure out what a new year may bring.

The following are 10 predictions that I am willing to make for the new year that we just began. Every year brings with it major news developments, exciting sporting accomplishments, political intrigue, public scandals, celebrity gaffes, natural disasters, and other headlines.

We can take a look back at the end of 2010 and see how I faired with these:

1) Israel-Iran War: There is just no way that Israel can allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. If the mullahs are not overthrown and Ahmadinejad kicked out on his apocalpyse-desirous butt within the first few months of the year, Israel cannot wait much longer. It’s a bit of an upset that the Israelis have waited this long. This will be huge.

2) American Congress: The Republican Party will make major inroads in both Houses of Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections. Probably not enough to take over either House, unless of course the Obama administration continues to bury the U.S. in debt and continues to take over private industry. My bet is the Dems up for election will paint themselves moderately enough to salvage a slight Dem majority.

3) Terrorism in the West: There will be a moderate-to-major successful Islamofascist terrorist attack somewhere in either Great Britain or the United States this year. The radical Islamists have sworn to keep coming at us, they continue to make actual attempts, and we keep getting lucky most times. Our luck will run out somewhere, some time.

4) American Financial Debacle: Unemployment will continue to rise, credit will continue to remain tight, the housing market will continue to stagnate. The policies that the Obama administration is utilizing simply do nothing to spur ongoing economic growth. There will be calls for more stimulus, just what we need (sic). At some point in the year the Fed will raise interest rates to stave off inflation, worsening many areas of the economy. The stock market will end the year lower than the final 2009 levels.

5) Natural Disaster: The world has been rocked in recent years by major tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, more so than at any time. Or does it just seem that way because we now have 24-hour news coverage? In any event, the U.S. got away without a major hurricane striking the mainland in 2009. We won’t be as lucky in 2010, and look for at least one other major event elsewhere in the developed world this year.

6) The Sports World: Predicting champions is the longest of long shots, but here goes. The Super Bowl will see the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots. How’s that for a homer pick? Want another one? Okay, the Philadelphia Phillies will defeat the New York Yankees in a World Series rematch. The Chicago Black Hawks will win the Stanley Cup by downing the New Jersey Devils. The Cleveland Cavaliers will upend the LA Lakers for the NBA title. Kansas wins the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

7) Olympics Incident: The Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver next month. The largest sporting event on earth remains the greatest attraction for television, athletes, fans – and terrorists. Watch for some attack or attempted attack at some venue. If Vancouver lucks out, or makes it’s own luck with tremendous security, the real challenge is next. London hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics, and that one should be a real security challenge.

8) Celebrity Deaths: We all know there will be some. The usual suspects this time around include Billy Graham, Nancy Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Dick Clark, Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kirk Douglas, Betty Ford, Nelson Mandela, Jerry Lewis, Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden and Abe Vigoda, who I personally think may never die. But the real challenge is predicting the younger folks who really shouldn’t go, but who end up in accidents or overdoses or as homicides/suicides. Put me down for a couple on the longshots: Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

9) Science and Sci-Fi: There will continue to be no proof of intelligent life on other planets. No flying saucers or other beings will visit/invade the earth. The H1N1 virus will fade from the headlines amid warnings from the medical community that some major disease will eventually break out among humans that will indeed cause a worldwide crisis, and they will be right – eventually. By the way, your life can already be tracked via things like GPS on your cellphone and via your debit/credit card usage. This will become even more invasive in the coming year.

10) Weight Loss: Okay, here is the biggie. Yours truly will lose weight, a great deal of it, and get in the best shape that I have been in since my police academy days two decades ago. This is the one that I hope actually comes through for me. Well, this and the Republicans making strong Congressional gains. I am starting the effort this coming week. Wish me luck.

So there go ten areas where I am willing to go out on the limb with some general and specific predictions. It will be a great year for some, a terrible year for others, the last year on earth for some, the first year for others.

In short, in the end it will be pretty much like any other year. It’s all ahead of us right now. It will be interesting to take a look back in 11 months or so and reflect on this article with the knowledge of the reality of what actually occurred.

2009 American of the Year: Glenn Beck

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This was a year of tremendous change for America, and the vast majority of it was not for the good. Our national debt, already out of control as the year began, has now soared to previously unimaginable levels.

Our government has taken over control of large portions of private industry, and is poised to take over even more in the coming years.

On the international front, we have become indecisive and noncommittal in fighting a war against a determined Islamofascist enemy that continues to look for ways to attack us, kill our citizens, and deal crippling blows to our economy and our way of life.

Thanks to recent election results, we face a future of increasing debt and taxation and decreasing personal freedom and liberty.

Not willing to stand by and simply whine and complain on the airwaves, radio talk show host Glenn Beck took his blossoming television program from CNN’s Headline News and moved to the Fox News network in early 2009.

This move allowed him to get out from under the umbrella of the liberal mandate of CNN and into the Fox world that allows fair and balanced reporting of all sides of the issues.

Beck then began a year-long education of the American people on civics, history, and current events that was quite simply not being discussed anywhere else in any clear and consistent manner.

For his efforts as a truthful voice crying out in the wilderness, and for his out-front leadership of traditional America, this website is proud to name Glenn Beck as it’s 2009 American of the Year.

Beck follows in the footsteps of previous honorees Pat Tillman (2004), Bill O’Reilly (2005), Rev. Billy Graham (2006), P/O Chuck Cassidy (2007), and President George W. Bush (2008).

While many years have seen a number of worthy individuals fall just short while being considered, no one really came close to challenging Beck for this year’s honor.

There is no doubt that websites, magazines, and news programs run by and catering to ultra-liberals, socialists, and Europeans will look to make their ‘Person of the Year’ selections soon.

Many of them will no doubt select Barack Obama for his, uh, for…hmmm. There is the whole being sworn in and becoming the first-ever minority, well, half-minority President in American history thing. But then that is really a ceremony.

Should we give someone an award for contributions during an entire year when all they really accomplished was ceremonial? Well, apparently they give out the Nobel prize for accomplishing nothing. But this website will not fall into that trap.

The more important thing would seem to be not winning an election, but what you do once you are in office. Other than driving up debt, decreasing freedom, and lessening national security, it’s hard to find any accomplishments of Obama this past year.

This year, Beck released another in a what is fast becoming a series of best-selling books. His latest is titled “Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government” and in it he takes on these targets with simple facts.

Gun control? Government-run health care? Illegal immigration? You might think that you have an opinion, but in this book, Glenn will help you to understand the facts.

The 45-year old Beck did more than lend a leading voice to the most worthy cause of protecting and preserving the U.S. Constitution and restoring American exceptionalism, though that enough would be worthy of the honor.

As a concrete measure, he organized the ‘9-12 Project’ to embody the spirit that the vast majority of Americans felt on the day after the 9-11-2001 terrorist attacks.

Beck’s ‘9-12 Project’ is based on 9 principles and 12 values that embody this spirit. The principles include basic ideals such as “America is good”, “I believe in God”, “The family is sacred”, and “The government works for me.”

The 12 values are: honesty, reverence, hope, thrift, humility, charity, sincerity, moderation, hard work, courage, personal responsibility, and gratitude.

Beck also gave a voice to the ‘Tea Party’ movement which grew at formal town hall gatherings all across the country during 2009. Based on the ‘Boston Tea Party’ concept of protest against excessive government actions and taxation, these localized events exploded into a massive taxpayer march on Washington on September 12th, 2009.

His style is one of intellectual inquisitiveness mixed with what he himself calls a ‘rodeo clown’ persona. Open about being a recovering alcoholic, Beck sprinkles his television program with the same humor that is a hallmark of his radio show, adding formal charts and graphics and video accompanied by simple presentations made by him alone standing at a chalkboard. He engages guests at both venues of all political persuasions in conversation rather than rancorous debate.

Critics of Beck’s programming presentations have often used terms such as ‘fear-monger’ and ‘conspiratorial’, and yet almost never do you here any substance behind such accusations and commentary.

As is a hallmark of the liberal community in general, name-calling is about all that the left has to offer up in rebuttal when challenged on-air by Beck’s biting tongue and sharp wit.

In September of 2009, Beck was highlighted by the usually left-leaning Time magazine in a cover piece titled “Is Glenn Beck Bad For America?” In this sweeping article that basically painted him as one would expect from a liberal tome, Time had this to say of his programming:

“As melodrama, it’s thumping good stuff. But as politics, it’s sort of a train wreck — at once powerful, spellbinding and uncontrolled.”

What the magazine did not say is perhaps the most telling thing. It did not say that he is a liar.

There are any number of radio talk hosts, television commentators, political pundits, comic satirists, and armchair politicians out there. But exactly because he is so “powerful, spellbinding and uncontrolled” as well as truthful, Glenn Beck taps into the raw nerves of the large numbers of Americans who are as rightfully frightened for the future of our once-great nation as he himself has become.

For his expressive courage, his moral conviction, his articulation of truth, his love of America, he is an example to us all. For what he has overcome in his personal life to become a wealthy, influential opinion shaper, as well as a devoted, loving family man, he is an example as well.

For all of this, and for his work with the ‘9-12 Project’ and the ‘Tea Party’ movement, Glenn Beck is this website’s 2009 American of the Year.

NOTE: To view the write-ups for all of the ‘American of the Year’ winners simply click on to that ‘Tag’ below this article at http://www.mattveasey.com

The greatest question ever asked

About a half century ago, literally on the other side of the world, the Reverend Billy Graham was delivering one of his typical fire and brimstone sermons ‘Down Under’ in Australia.

The theme of his sermon that day revolved around what he called “the greatest question ever asked by any man.

That questioner to whom he was referring was a bit notorious. It was Pontius Pilate, the first century Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea who has become legend for having condemned Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion.

While being questioned by Pilate, Jesus stated “…for this I came into the world, to testify to the Truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

Pilate responded with his simple question that has resounded through history as that greatest ever to be asked: “What is truth?

However, Pilate asks his question dismissively of Christ. As he asks the question, he waves Jesus off and walks away, as if to say ‘yeah, right’ or ‘gimme a break’.

It is not as if Jesus Christ had never answered this question, for he had done so on numerous occasions previously, and none more famously than is presented in the Gospel of John.
In John 14:6, Christ proclaims that he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Today’s world is full of what have become known as ‘relativists’ who claim, as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

In philosophical circles, this has become known as ‘Moral Relativism’, that what is right for you is right, and what is right for me is right. There is one huge problem with all of this, of course. No two individuals, or groups of people, or religions can always both be ‘right’ in a relative way.

If I claim that a certain patch of land is mine, and you claim that same patch of land is yours, then we have a legitimate dispute that cannot be resolved by any claim that we are both right.

As Reverend Graham put it on that evening in Australia, when Jesus Christ makes the statement that he is “..the Way, the Truth, and the Life” he did not stop there. His statement finished with “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This leaves you, and that means anyone reading this, anyone who has been in existence since that time who has heard that claim, with only two choices. You can choose to believe that Jesus Christ was everything that he said he was. Or you can believe that he was a liar, a fraud, and a scoundrel. Your choice.

Jesus’ response to Pilot’s question is the basis of the entirety of man’s decision-making process since the beginnings of Christianity.

The great joy is that so many have come to understand the ultimate truthful answer, that Jesus Christ is indeed the Way to a personal relationship with God, that he is the Truth of existence in every word that he ever spoke, and that he is the Life that we all seek in eternity.

Christianity rose from the humble beginnings of a few dozen close followers to the largest belief system on the planet in just over two millenia.

It did so despite being the direct target of those who would have stamped it out wholly and utterly, at times when it appeared the odds of its survival were insurmountable.

It ultimately grew strong and prospered because at its very heart is that ultimate Truth that is the answer to the greatest question that any man has ever posed.

The answer to Pontius Pilate’s question of “What is truth?” is Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t come to that realization yet, I implore you to look closer. Get yourself a Bible, turn to the New Testament, and read Christ’s words. They will inspire you if you have never taken that time before, and the more you read, the more you will understand.

The more you understand, the more the Holy Spirit will fill your life. The more the Spirit moves within you, the closer you will get to understanding and accepting that Truth. And as we have come to know, the Truth shall set you free.